Academy players take cues from snooker stars
Thu 16 January 2020, 11:13|Tottenham Hotspur
A group of our Under-23 and Under-18 players enjoyed a unique chance to experience the world of snooker with a special visit to the Masters tournament at Alexandra Palace on Wednesday.
Less than 10 miles from our Training Centre, Jamie Bowden, Maurizio Pochettino, Enock Asante, Chay Cooper, Michael Craig and Eddie Carrington were given a tour of the arena at the iconic north London venue, including an up-close glimpse at the main match table and a trip backstage to the players’ room, where they quizzed current pro Martin O’Donnell on the mental strength and preparation levels needed by elite professionals on the World Snooker Tour.
Under the guidance of Martin, the group tested their own potting skills and ability to control the cue ball at one of the backstage tables before being invited into the practice room to observe world number 13 Jack Lisowski preparing for his first round Masters clash with eighth-ranked Kyren Wilson in the afternoon session.
The players then took their seats to watch Lisowski and Wilson compete live for a place in Friday’s quarter-finals. Lisowski raced into an early two-frame lead but Wilson came roaring back to win 6-2.
Midfielder Jamie said: “It’s been a different experience and very enjoyable. It’s brilliant to be honest because we’ve had chances to talk to players who have been there and gone through what it takes to make it in their sport and we got some great advice on how we can transform that into what we do every day in football. It was good to try playing a few shots ourselves too – I back myself at the snooker table and it was enjoyable to see what the others lads have got with a cue as well!”
Martin said: “I think it’s important for the players to see another top sport and how other top sportspeople go about their business. Hopefully they could see another example today of how much hard work goes into being a sportsman – snooker is a solitary game and it’s about being very self-motivated. Professional sport is never easy – sometimes there might even be more downs than there are ups, so you’ve got to have the mental strength to get through. Hopefully the players can see that if you remain positive and work hard, you have a chance of getting the rewards at the end of it. I hope they’ve been able to take something out of this session that can help them in the future.”
The visit was one of several off-field activities enjoyed by our young players over the course of each season as part of our extensive education programme.
The Masters, featuring the top 16 players in the world, is the second longest-running snooker competition behind the World Championship and is one of the sport’s prestigious Triple Crown events. The tournament concludes with the final on Sunday before returning to Alexandra Palace in 2021.